Looking out for Veterans and Military families
Phoenix VA Action Update:
To address the broken health care system seen at the Phoenix VA, Kyrsten has taken several immediate steps to help provide veterans with the health care and services they need.
- Called on the VA to hire a permanent director for the Phoenix VA Medical Center.
- Passed bipartisan VA Reform legislation, signed into law in August.
- Requested and met privately with VA Secretary Robert McDonald in Phoenix.
- Introduced bipartisan legislation to take back bonuses paid to VA employees who manipulated wait-time data.
- Cosponsored bipartisan legislation to allow military sexual trauma survivors to receive care outside of the military and VA should they choose.
- Called for protections for VA whistleblowers.
- Spoke at the House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing about our work to prevent veteran suicide and promote mental health care with the family of Daniel Somers.
- Called on the VA to end its “culture of non-responsiveness” to whistleblowers.
- Organized multiple meetings and clinics with new Phoenix VA leadership and community partners to provide immediate access to health care for Arizona veterans.
- Called for the resignation of Phoenix VA management currently on administrative leave and the return of any bonuses received while record falsification occurred and pay received since being put on administrative leave.
- Introduced the Access to Veteran-Centered Community Care Act, directing the VA to connect veterans with outside care providers if the VA cannot provide care within 14 days.
- Requested and organized bi-monthly briefings for the Arizona Congressional Delegation to hold new Phoenix VA leadership accountable.
- Submitted a bipartisan letter calling for the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission, an independent investigative commission to look into corruption and record falsification at the VA.
- Voted to appoint a conference committee to negotiate and pass legislation addressing systemic problems seen throughout the VA.
- Called for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation.
- Passed bipartisan legislation to cut wait times at VA facilities, expand veteran access to community health providers for immediate care, suspend VA employee performance bonuses for three years, and hold underperforming VA executives accountable.
- Cosponsored legislation to protect veterans by increasing oversight and accountability by reforming VA employee performance standards, making it easier to hold underperforming leadership responsible.
- Requested a full investigation of the Phoenix VA by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Department of Justice.
- Introduced a unanimously adopted bipartisan amendment with Rep. Matt Salmon to increase funds available for the VA Office of Inspector General to look into the wait lists and veteran deaths at the Phoenix VA Hospital.
- Sent a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki demanding answers about the Phoenix VA and requesting a briefing for the Arizona Congressional delegation.
- Questioned VA officials about the quality of care at the Phoenix VA during a House Veterans Affairs Committee Field Hearing in Arizona.
A Proven Advocate for Veterans
Kyrsten grew up in a family with a proud history of military service so she knows firsthand the struggle military families face. She knows that we have a moral obligation to care for our veterans, and help them get good jobs and fair housing when they come home and rejoin the civilian workforce. Kyrsten is working to clear the backlog at Veterans Administration hospitals so that our vets get the health care which they earned serving our country.
Kyrsten co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to help end the VA backlog, increase benefits for military families and provide greater access to jobs and education for veterans and their families. In March of 2014 Kyrsten testified before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health about her legislation that provides veterans with classified experiences greater access to mental health care. The bill was inspired by the story of a veteran from Ahwatukee who tragically took his own life after the VA failed to help him get the mental health care and disability rating he needed. Kyrsten worked with his parents to craft the legislation and has recruited bipartisan support for its passage. Watch our ad below to see Daniel’s story and hear how we are working for veterans like Daniel.
Kyrsten formed the Veterans Advisory Council during her 2012 campaign and the group continues to advise regularly. She also held several tele-town halls with veterans in her district since taking office to answer questions and hear comments and insight on how we can better serve veterans and their families.